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XM & Sirius Satellite Radio

steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,826
Anyone have any interest in or experience with XM Satellite Radio?
Steve
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Comments

  • kbtoyskbtoys Posts: 62
    I have been really considering XM radio. The only think that is holding me back is I would have to shell out over $200.00 just to get it. I don't care about the $10.00 a month.
  • swinga7swinga7 Posts: 45
    200? where are you shopping for xm radio? these are the kind of prices that I have seen.

    $200-300+ satellite ready receiver
    $250-300 satellite decoder
    $100 satellite antenna
    $10/mo satellite service
    plus installation
  • swinga7swinga7 Posts: 45
    what happens when your next to a skycraper, under a bridge, in a tunnel, or driving down heavily wooded roads?

    These things will obviously block the incoming satellite signal. Is there some kind of buffer or does the music just stop?

    I have satellite tv and heavy rainstorms and snowstorms block the signal.

    all of these things factored in, I think I'll stear clear of satellite radio for now.
  • There is. I sell this stuff, and I love to mess around with it too :-D it buffers the signal.. which lasta around like 6 or 7 seconds. Plus the antenna pick up both the satallite feed and land based repeaters, mixing the 2 signals together to get you the best reproduction it can (this is why they are actually active antennas that run off of 5v's from the XM unit) The land based repeaters really help in congested areas
  • kbtoyskbtoys Posts: 62
    When shopping for XM radio I have found all the stuff online.

    XM tunner - $150.00
    Anntenna - $75.00 for the glass mount. There are cheaper ones if you want a wire on the outside of the vehicle.

    As for the headunit I already have XM ready unit. Installation I would do myself.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    In the cities with big signal blocking skyscrapers and tunnels and such, XM has installed repeater antennas to "boost" the signal and keep you in the tunes. The system itself is really cool, and I plan on purchasing and add on set up for my Yukon XL. I know the FM Modulator will diminish the digital signal slightly but I am willing to take a hit there to keep the truck looking stock, and be able to remove the system and install it in another car/truck later. I 2003 GM is offering it as an option on almost the entire fleet, I don't know what antennas they will be installing, but I hope it's not like the ones the put on the Cadillacs, that thing is huge and nasty looking on the roof!!
  • swinga7swinga7 Posts: 45
    thanks for clearing that up. Now i'm interested in satellite radio again
  • cyranno99cyranno99 Posts: 419
    yeah.. I talked about it too much in News&Views :D
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,826
    Is any Town Hall member who has purchased a satellite radio interested in talking to the press? Anyone interested should email Jeannine Fallon at jfallon@edmunds.com prior to next Thursday, 4/4. Thanks a bunch!

    Steve
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    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards

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    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    I purchased the Sony "plug n play" XM unit last November and also purchased the home kit so I can use it in the house. The unit itself with the RF modulator was $399 and the home kit was $149. I just recently installed it in my Olds Intrigue after enjoying it at home since I got it. Thus far, I've found reception to be pretty good. Whats funny is it works flawlessly in parking garages and driving under large bridges in the city, but it does lose signal for a moment when driving under a bridge out in a more rural area. Sound quality going through the rf modulator is surprisingly good, although a strong FM station that is picking up good does sound better. I also found this to be true when I have the unit hooked up to my home receiver. What makes XM worth every penny is the programming!! Commercial radio has just gone to the dogs in the past few years and just this past week, a local jazz station which I liked just changed format. That seems to be commonplace everywhere as everything radio does is focus group driven and most of the time the stuff being played comes from a bird in the sky. Lets face it folks, the days of calling your local dj and requesting songs are just about over. Anyway, back to XM. I do wish all of their channels were commercial free, but at least their commercial time is MUCH less than FM and the commercials are typically not as bad as those screaming car dealer ads heard on the local channels. I can't wait to take a long road trip and put XM to the test. If your considering XM and you love music, go for it.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    You lose signal under bridges and overpasses in the rural area because they don't have the repeaters that the big cities do. That is why you have 2 leads from the antenna, one receives the signal from the satellites, and the other gets it from the terrestrial based repeater towers. With skyscrapers, and other tall objects that have the potential to block the signal from the satellites they mount receivers on top of the buildings and rebroadcast the signal in a regular FM frequency that can get through the buildings and such. What antenna did you choose for the car/house?

    How do you like the lack of commercials?!!! I find myself going crazy at work listening to the radio because of them now. It's like a whole new radio out there, and in all reality if I had to pay the regular radio stations 10 bucks a month to stop all the commercials I would! But then I wouldn't get rid of the programming changes and other stuff that makes regular radio a pain.

    I just installed the Pioneer unit, with the Terk SR2 roof mount antenna in my Yukon XL, and I really love it. I am trying to figure out where I feel like driving to just so I don't have to change the stations. I figure in less than 10 years the FM dial will be gone and XM or Sirrus will replace it completely. I can't believe the sound quality even though the FM modulator, it's simply amazing!
  • timadamstimadams Posts: 294
    Is using an FM modulator the only way to listen? It seems silly to receive a clean digital signal and then listen through an RF modulator.

    Regarding loss of signal under bridges, what about driving through woods where there is a tree canopy over the road? I would imagine you would lose the signal there, right?
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    I'm using the supplied antenna both in the car and at home(one came with the home kit as well). The one on the car is sitting on the trunk lid and has a huge magnet at the base. I considered the terk glass mount, but local stores did not have them in stock and I just didn't want to pay $79 to $99 for it. My car is black and so is the antenna so it doesn't really stick out and isn't even all that noticeable. I've seen similar looking antennas on BMWs and MBs for their navigation systems. I absolutely love the commercial free programming. It's awesome being able to actually listen to MUSIC for a change rather than commercial after commercial. In fact, I haven't loaded a cd into the player in over a week. Pre XM, I always kept some cds in the car with me because it would never fail, I'd be in a traffic jam coming home from work and EVERY station I had preset would have commercials!

    Signal loss is minimal. Bridges seem to be the only area. Tree foliage is just now coming out so we'll see in a month or so, but right now trees have not been a problem with signal. Another thing I love about XM is that unless you are not receiving signal at all, there is no static, "motorboats", or other reception noise that is commonplace with FM. So many times I would be sitting in traffic and would "creep" forward nearly touching the car in front of me just because I happened to stop in a line of static. Don't tell the folks at XM this, but I'd probably pay more than $10 a month, I enjoy the service that much.
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    Unless your headunit has rca inputs(very few do) or is set up for XM or external components, the rf modulator is pretty much the way you have to go. I understand your point completely and was skeptical myself, but was very impressed with the sound quality using the RF modulator. And RF modulators are probably just temporary as more and more cars are going to start coming with XM. I hear GM is going to offer it on about 18 different models in 2003. Ford, Chrysler, Saab, and others have also been mentioned as offering XM(or Sirius) within the next couple of years.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    Right now you have 3 options on how to get XM Radio into the car.

    1. Factory installed, it will be available from GM on quite a few 2003 models.

    2. Aftermarket head unit replacement, first you have to get an XM ready head unit from Pioneer or Sony, then you still have to get the receiver box and antenna.

    3. FM modulated, which is basically the receiver the antenna and the box to hook into the antenna.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    I called and wasted a tech support guys time for about half an hour with a ton of questions about reception, before I purchased the system. According to him the best place to mount the antenna is the roof, so even if you go under a bridge by the time the signal weakens you are already picking up the signal again from the other end of the bridge. So Oldsman01 try moving the antenna to the roof and see if that makes a difference. If not email XM about the problem and what area you are having it in and they will return the email and if you supply a number they will call you to see what the deal is! I did it myself and was shocked that they actually called, the person was extremely helpful and truly put a concerned effort into getting the matter resolved. In my case it's only one bridge and it's small, but there are train tracks that run over it and that may be the root cause of the problem.

    Trees are not an issue, the signal passes through w/o a problem. The tech guy I first talked, and the one following up on my email said the signal passes through most organic material w/o any problem. It does have a problem with heavy steel, like I beams and such.

    Oldsman I highly doubt you would like the Terk glass mount antenna, it's HUGE! No lie, I bought one myself and couldn't bring myself to stick it to my window, plus it has to hook to some kind of power source to work! OK, you say well how big is it, look at the back of your hand flip yourself the bird and add 6 inches you your finger, that is roughly how big it is! I have a Yukon XL, a large vehicle, and it didn't fit with the scale of the truck in any way. Maybe it would look ok on a semi, but not on any car or truck. If you want a permanent mount antenna, get the Terk SR2 roof mount. That is what I used and I can email you picts if you email me and ask for them.
  • kbtoyskbtoys Posts: 62
    I can't decied between the terk-sr1, terk-sr2. I know would get a better reception with the roofmount but I don't want to drill a hole to run the wire. My e-mail is TRDToyota@angelfire.com
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    Thanks for the info on the glass mount as I have only seen them in pictures. I think I'll stick with the magnet mount one I have. My car has Onstar so it's already got one glass mount cell phone antenna so I was leary of having two antennas on the back window anyway. I might try the roof if reception becomes a problem, but right now there are only a couple of places I lose signal and that is just for a second or so.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    It is a no drill install, I ran the wires behind my 3rd brake light, under the rubber weather strip and through an existing body grommet. The wires are extremely thin and easy to get through existing grommets, and the like. If you go roof mount you can hide the wires behind the rubber window moldings and when you get to the trunk you can go around the trunk weather strip and into the trunk. That is how the guys at the install shop run them. I checked out 3 of them before I decided to do it myself. I will send picts soon. My description of the SR-1 antenna is very accurate one, and remember it need a switched and always on power supply, he SR-2 is passive and you don't need an extra power source.
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    I don't own a set, so I am just repeating what I have read elsewhere, but I think you can also hook up an XM receiver through a casette adapter; the signal goes from the XM unit through the adapter and is picked up by the contacts on the tape heads. This is likely to give much better freq. response than the FM modulator, but it leaves unsightly wires dangling. Personally, although I am excited about the technology, I will have to wait a while. I have a year old Lexus with a Mark Levinson stereo, which sounds FABULOUS, but is not XM-ready and has no pre-amp level inputs. Radio choices may suck, but the CDs sound just amazing.
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    I've never liked cassette adapters and have never had them sound very good. Basially, your again transferring the digital(XM) to analog. And those wires would surely look unsightly in a Lexus:) If I were you, I'd go the RF modulator route. I was skeptical of that myself and was surprised at how well it does indeed sound.
  • timadamstimadams Posts: 294
    Like many new technologies, there is a hardware vs. software issue. While I would probably be willing to pay the $10 a month to try XM, I'm not going to replace the head unit in my car to do so, nor spend $200+ to jury-rig an add-on. And I really don't like the idea that my $10 won't allow me to easily listen both at home and in the car without moving and hooking up some sort of extra-cost unit.

    When/if I buy a car stereo head unit (either built-in or a replacement unit) that has XM built in, I'll probably try it. But I won't replace a working one just for this feature. The decision will be easier if I also have a home stereo receiver that receives XM, and I can listen both places for one fee. I have my doubts it will be around that long.
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    With commercial radio going to dogs in many markets, XM and similar services are probably here to stay and if anything will grow. People had the same argument about cell phones 15 years ago. As for your home/away situation, the Sony unit undocks from your car and can be used with your home system as well. You do have to buy an additional kit, but this way you only pay the $9.99 once a month. In a year the savings over having two XM subscriptions would pay for the home kit. It will be interesting to see some home A/V receivers start coming with XM capabilities. XM isn't for everyone, but if you love a variety of music and the market driven, bubble gum pop on the radio doesn't cut it for you, XM is a Godsend. If I were on a limited budget and had to choose, I'd take XM over a cell phone.
  • ssmintonssminton Posts: 155
    If you have installed roof mounted antennas above the rear liftgate on your SUV, check for chaffing on the antenna line. Over the past 6 months of XM usage, I noticed a slight but steady degrading of my reception. Basically, specific zones and overpasses that had not previously created a signal loss now were. I figured it was common software/hardware problems (San Diego has quite a few). I recently checked the antenna and found that my rear liftgate had chaffed through the antenna shielding, degrading my reception. The dealer quickly replaced the antenna, no charge, and I was back to XM bliss! For those have their antenna centered on the rear of the roof above the liftgate, recommend that you shift the antenna location to one side or the other. This way, when the liftgate opens and closes it allows more space between the door edge and antenna wiring. Now with the antenna moved, it does not chafe at all.
  • ssmintonssminton Posts: 155
    Lots of posts recently regarding cost of XM, and is the service worth it? YES, YES, YES... I installed XM, FM modulated, last fall in the San Diego test market. After 6 months of use, I could never go back. When you talk about the cost, I'm saving money with XM! I have not purchased a single CD or book on tape in over six months, and I am much more content with my commute time. It is amazing how fast the 5:00 hour passes while listening to shows like the Factor on FOX. Also, the quality of the FM modulated sound far exceeds my initial expectations. I have a high end factory headset and the XM sound is far superior to digital FM stations and very close to that produced by CD. Understand that XM is new technology, and there are going to be service glitches. San Diego has experienced its share. Overall, my XM purchase was worth every penny. I wish automakers would install XM headsets in all new vehicles. It is better and cheaper than a CD changer.
  • timadamstimadams Posts: 294
    Are any syndicated talk radio shows available on XM?

    Don Imus? G. Gordon Liddy? Don and Mike? Sports Junkies?
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    I don't think there are too many syndicated programs on XM. Other than the news channels and a few other music channels, most of the XM programming is directly from their broadcast center in Washington DC.

    ssminton, I'm with you on XM. I've had it since November and have only purchased about 2 cds since then. It is well worth the $9.99 a month. As for factory installed systems, they are coming. I think GM will offer it on about 18 different models for 2003 and other automakers have also signed on with XM or Sirius. Within 5 years it will probably be about as common as cd players in cars.
  • ssmintonssminton Posts: 155
    timadams, there are plenty of "tradition" talk radio programs available through XM. In addition to the new programming being produced through the XM studio, many traditional radio and TV broadcast stations are transmitted via XM. ABC talk radio in New York is rebroadcast in its entirety, but segments of many other syndicated shows are contained over several talk stations. For example, many of KFI's, AM 640 out of LA, are rebroadcast on the XM house talk channels. You just have to play with it to find them. I personally like the rebroadcast of the news stations such as BBC, CNBC, and Fox news.

    Also, in addition to syndicated programs, the "best of" national music stations are also broadcast, i.e. TOP 40 station out of LA and Country out of Nashville. I think the rebroadcasting of top radio/TV is a great complement to XM's programming.
  • timadamstimadams Posts: 294
    I live out in the sticks and can't get the radio shows I mentioned "over the air". I can get Rush Limbaugh on 3 local stations, of course, but can't get Don & Mike, Liddy or Imus. ;^{

    I sent XM an email asking about these three shows, and a reply came back and said all three of those shows are Westwood One productions, and Westwood is being stubborn regarding both satellite radio and internet radio. Thus, none are available on satellite or over the internet.

    I do view XM favorably, and think their service offers a lot of real advantages. I'm not so sure about their long-term profitability/viability, and also think they have to improve the ability of a subscriber to listen in the car, at home and at work for the same subscription fee.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,826

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